Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The crisis of confidence in the Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that has pitted the state Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, against the National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, worsened yesterday as the duo launched fresh tirades against each other.
Oshiomhole fired the first salvo, saying Obaseki lost his ward, local government and senatorial district in the last general election.
But the governor, through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, urged Oshiomhole to concentrate on winning elections by the performance of the party and not relying on thugs and violence for electoral victory.
He accused the party chairman of trying hard to cover up his inordinate ambition to be the ultimate godfather in the state and usurp the will of the majority of the people.
Oshiomhole launched the attack on the governor while featuring on a television programme at the weekend as he reacted to comments by Obaseki and his deputy, Hon. Philip Shaibu, that he (Oshiomhole) taught them all they are executing in the state, including the fight against godfathers.
In a statement yesterday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem, Oshiomhole said he never taught them how to unleash violence and lose elections.
He said: “I have read them on several occasions saying that I taught them all they are doing today. This is laughable because I never thought them how to lose elections. As we speak today, the governor (Obaseki) lost his ward, local government and senatorial district in the last presidential election. As we speak, the governor is being represented by the PDP in his federal constituency and senatorial district. These in my view were early morning signals about need to change tactics, stop threatening people, saying you will crush, who are you crushing?
“But I won my entire senatorial district for Mr. President and I am being represented by an APC senator and House of Representatives member. Then his deputy, Philip, in Jattu where he comes from, in his polling booth where he and his family voted, Philip Shaibu lost. He lost his booth during his own governorship election in which he was standing as deputy governorship candidate. So if he learnt from me, he should have learnt well because I never lost election in my village.
“There is no body in my village who can work against me because when I go home I relate with them, I am an ordinary man. You see when you have power and you don’t use it, you are even more powerful. And you must know when to talk tough and when to talk soft.”
But the governor countered Oshiomhole, urging him to concentrate on winning elections by the performance of the party and not relying on thugs and violence for electoral victory.
He said: “Even his (Oshiomhole’s) allegory of politics being like a forest with dangerous animals is a poor excuse to continue to perpetrate thuggery and keeping the collective patrimony under the control of a few greedy and violent people in the name of winning units and ward elections.
“Good governance remains the surest path towards winning elections, especially when you are committed to free, fair and credible elections devoid of the kind of violence witnessed in recent elections in the country.
“So, instead of trying to pacify the violent and the lawless just because you want to win elections, Oshiomhole should support the stellar performance being displayed by Governor Godwin Obaseki in Edo State, that way, he will not need the services of his thugs to win the next election.”